Cutey, my dog, gave us a big fright when she bolted after two deer that were passing behind our home. While she has pulled similar stunts before, (and knowing her, will most likely continue to do so) those have been limited to chasing squirrels and cats. Once the squirrels climb up a tree, Cutey tries her super best to follow them, but after falling on her head, literally, she usually accepts defeat. Cats are a different matter, for Cutey is easily fooled by their size and fluff, and more often than not, gets a resounding slap from these oh-so-cute felines she loves to chase. In either case, she returns home in a few minutes, tail tucked between her legs, a few scratches to prove her story.

This time was different from usual, because she’s never seen deer before. It was a sight to behold to watch Cutey chasing after tehm, her muscles bunched, looking so much like the hound that runs in her DNA. Social media proved a huge help, for my post about my lost dog went viral almost instantly, with people living in the neighborhood sharing it further in hopes that whoever finally saw Cutey, would know she belongs to us. The entire day went by, I kept driving in my neighborhood, near the woods, calling to her, in hope that she’d hear and come running. Tough luck. I even parked my car near a clearing and entered the forest, (on hindsight, I realise it was idiotic of me, consdering my bug spray wasn’t going to deter snakes that live in there, but you do what you have to do for your family), searching unsuccessfully for her.

When I returned home after my second search run, sonny boy told me three of our friends had dropped by to lend moral support and to offer their help to look. The shelter we adopted Cutey from over three years ago, reached out to us, offering their help. The lady who had then helped us with the adoption procedure, shared my post with her friends who work in the field of animals. I was shocked when I called her, and she told me she was in our neighborhood. Her workplace is over twenty miles from here, and she lives another thirty miles away! But she drove over right after work, just to help look for Cutey.

A friend who is terrified of dogs, walked around our community with a piece of bread in hand, calling to Cutey, in hopes that the smell would entice her to come bounding over. A little boy, who is about the same height as Cutey, offered to help us in his own, sweet adorable way. He would alternate between imitating dog sounds and cat sounds, occassionally calling to her by name, in hopes that she would hear him.

Another friend told us about a local neighborhood network, while yet another friend posted on our behalf on the network when I admitted I was unable to log in due to some technical problem.

By now, Cutey had been missing for over seven hours, and I was tired. Someone said they’d seen her in the afternoon in a lane that is about four miles from us. It was a bleak chance, but hubby dearest drove there to look for her. No luck. By the time evening rolled around, the stress was starting to get to us all. A family we love (and I have feeling they love us back), came over with some snacks and tea, saying we need to eat to keep up our strenght to look for Cutey. Together, divyying up, we resumed our search for Cutey. My phone was ringing non stop, with calls and messages from friends – ours and Cuteys, asking if she’d been found yet. I could hear the sorrow in their voice when I replied in the negative.

Happy or sad, time stops for no one, and the Sun began his downward journey beyond the horizon. I usually love twilight, and make it a point to be outdoors to watch the beautiful hues of the sky, but of course, this time, I did not even notice when the sun went down and the street lights came on; my eyes were glued to the woods all around us, my ears strained for any sounds of rustling in there.

A friend was walking his newly adopted a gorgeous little pup, and it was easy to see his hesitation in walking up to us. It was obvious that we were still looking for our silly girl. It was getting late, the watchface showed nine in the night, and we returned home with a heavy heart. Until this point, sonny boy had been quite composed, but the thought of spending the night without Cutey devastated him, and he finally broke down. Seeing my fatigue, hubby volunteered to make dinner. None of us was hungry, but like we all know, it is important to eat to keep up one’s strenght. He fixed us an omlet sandwich each, and I was eating it, when an instinct told me to take a look at my phone. At that instant, hubby’s phone rang in the bedroom where he had plugged it for charging, and he went into the bedroom to answer it. Meanwhile, I was scrolling through my messenger.

“Cutey has been found!” we both shouted at the same time. There was a message on my messenger app. “I believe this is your baby. She followed me home from my walk. Please call me on this number xxx-xxx-xxxx.” The call on my hubby’s phone was from our our friend who’d posted for us in the neighborhood network, someone had read his post and reached to him, letting him know the same message.

Sonny boy left his dinner and jumped all over the place, hap hap happy that his dog-sister had been found. Hubby, who had taken just one bite of his own omelet sandwich, grabbed my car keys and ran out of the house as soon as I told him where she could be fetched from. Twelve hours after she disappeared, Cutey was back home with us, safe and sound, save a little scratch near her nose and a limp of extreme exhaustion.

Though the twelve hours of Cutey’s absence were harrowing, and extremely stressful, we are blessed and grateful, that we did not have to go through them alone. Our entire village was with us – physically, morally, and also virtually!

It takes great fortune to find a village, a group of friends and neighbors, a community who will go out of the way to help each other, as will we for them. The overwheling outpouring of messages and support from people all over the world, showed me that we also belong to an amazing virtual community. This… correction… THIS is our village, and I love the vibe of our village. Heartfelt gratitude and love to the universe for this lovely village we belong to.

Dogasana – the yoga pose by Cutey